reading list

In this book about desire, Esther Perel explores the tension in relationships between love and desire.
Instead of trying elevate either of them, this therapist specializing in intercultural, interracial and inter religious relationships seeks to bring a balance to our expectations of our intimate relationships, so that we don’t crumble under under the weight of them.

Great exploration of human sexuality, apart from morality.

Speaking of the erotic as life force, Audre Lorde advocates tapping into and integrating the erotic into everyday endeavors as a way of accessing our power.

Speaking from the psycho-spiritual perspective of female experience in our society, it’s a great read.

Be forewarned that it is a very Anglo, heteronormative, somewhat essentialist narrative of gender.

This book contains 48 laws, with stories from recorded history to illustrate them.
While it’s used by politicians and businessmen as a literal bible, this book is one of the most useful ever written for understanding the power games that people in modern society play against you day-to-day. Once these laws are understood, it becomes much easier to not take any of it personally.

Deconstructs the myth of genius in such a way that you can’t ever agin be tricked that success is all due to talent or natural gifts.

It profiles prolific musicians, scientists, animal trainers and the systematic work they did to further develop their talents and attain their respective levels of greatness.

Like Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations, this book will help you become comfortable with discomfort and keeping an even keel, no matter what happens to you.

Instead of encouraging you to avoid hardship, this book sets about to convince you that way out of hardship is through it by illustrating Stoic philosophies with the stories of real people who have overcome adversity by not running from it.

Great for understanding communication and how ideas are traded up the chain to become the “news” we pay attention to, today.

As the marketing director for American Apparel, Ryan Holiday know a few things about stirring controversy to get attention.

In this book he details some of those methods, which help you better understand how things become viral and end up coming “news”.

As the former Chairman of the Black Panther Party, Elaine Brown more than familiar with revolution.

Told from the vantage point of someone that really rode for black men and the Black Panther Party, this book also indicts the sexism of the movement. Part personal biography and part Panther chronicle, it’s a fascinating read.

Before the Black Panther Party, cops on the streets of Oakland terrorized communities of color with impunity. What many people don’t realize is that that police terror is what informed the creation of the now infamous Crips and Bloods gangs.

Instead of limiting their efforts to any one neighborhood, Huey Newton and Bobby Seale systemized their efforts based on the 2nd Amendment to police the police.

This book is a look at those conditions and the story of how a once-illiterate boy who hated school became one of the the Black Power movement’s mightiest influencers.

More than anything, I think this book
shows the power of the human spirit and cruelty of slavery.

Before he was an abolitionist and champion of human rights,
Frederick Douglass was an illiterate slave.

His autobiography chronicles that journey and gives a look at the personal philosophies behind his work.

Dictated directly to Alex Haley, Malcolm X’s
autobiography traces his evolution from childhood smart mouth to
a thief that chased white women to one of the Black Power movement’s most feared men.

It includes his transformation after his pilgrimage to Mecca and how it opened up his eyes.

Since it was published as it was told to Haley, it reads like a conversation.
It’s absorbing and illuminates a lot about both Malcolm X and the times.

If you need firm, but understanding encouragement to become comfortable with discomfort,
this is your book.
It includes concrete advice for working with yourself, right where you’re at.

If you’re committed to fighting the good fight, and you need to be reminded why you started from time to time,
this is your book.
It doesn’t downplay the difficulty involved in freeing yourself from suffering, but it doesn’t give you tell you to bail, either.

The story of a Brahmin who gave up worldly comforts to become a wandering ascetic, exploring the roots of suffering.

He renounces his possessions, becoming homeless and traveling with his best friend to experience the world outside of his comfort zone.

While people often call a person who is unemotional a Stoic, this book gets to the roots of Stoicism:
living simply, recognizing your opinions and maintaining equanimity.

As a general and emperor, Aurelius had many opportunities to practice remaining even and this book was basically an instruction manual to himself on how to do that.